The 4th of July is arguably the biggest holiday of summer.  It's America's Birthday, a chance for you to show off your grilling chops (and your grilled chops), and the plethora of fireworks shows.  The bright lights and loud booms can be seen and heard from City sponsored events, like Kennewick's River of Fire, to sports events like The Tri-City Dust Devils post game display, and everywhere in between.  Everywhere includes parking lots, your neighbor's backyard, a dirt field, the middle of a street.  As long as I can remember fireworks have been everywhere, but have they become more of an issue instead of a means of celebration?

This 4th Paco and Richland Fire Departments responded to nearly a dozen calls each regarding fireworks.  They stressed that all of the responses centered around "illegal" fireworks discharged in City limits.  Kennewick, Richland, Pasco, and West Richland, as well as Benton and Franklin Counties all allow fireworks to a degree and only allow certain types to be purchased and discharged.  In fact they'll sell you the legal ones at the City run stands to put a little extra cash in the City coffers.  Many still go to Oregon and Indian reservations to buy the illegal fireworks that are bigger, brighter, and louder.

Let's focus on the loud part for a minute.  Pet owners hate the 4th of July but would deal with it because it was one day to worry about their furry friends and then it would pass.  In recent years it has been days at a time that fireworks have been discharged in neighborhood creating increased stress for the animals and their owners.  A number of Military Veterans with severe PTSD have been more vocal about neighborhood fireworks and the effects it has on them.  It's also impacting people who have early morning jobs by disrupting usual sleep cycles.

Proponents of Fireworks on the 4th say that it's one day a year and we are celebrating our Nation's Birthday so it shouldn't be such a big deal.  Those impacted can cede a day but not nearly a week of bangs and booms.  Unlike many of our issues today, maybe compromise can be found with this one.

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